Isn’t sunlight the best for plants?
What makes Sherpa Space Inc. Different?
Do I need to purchase different lights for different plants?
Which plants do you optimize for?
isn’t sunlight the best for plants?
Sunlight’s wavelength distribution is very evenly distributed throughout. It’s a good start for most plants, but it has room for improvement.
Sunlight may not be enough
Sunlight has a broad spectrum of light. But not all light colors are equally important for the benefit of plant growth (Folta, and Maruhnich, 2007). Therefore, artificial lights are now generally designed to provide a light spectrum that plants relish. For this purpose, an adjustable combination of narrow-band light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are often used to provide different plants their preferred light components at different growth stages based on their specific needs.
different plants need different lights
Growth and morphogenesis (quite literally, “beginning of the shape”) are affected by light conditions such as intensity, photoperiod, and quality. By adjusting the combination of the light spectrum, it is possible not only to promote growth, flowering, and leaf quality but also to improve the concentration of functional chemicals in plants (Goto, E. ,2012).
Plants absorb radiation mostly in the 380-730nm range and convert CO₂ uptake and water into oxygen and glucose. The amount of absorption in each wavelength depends on the cellular structure of the plant and may differ from species to species (Gates et al. 1965).
Also the light intensities are different for various types of crops. See below:
The light wavelengths the plants need also depend on the growth stage they are in.
Much like how a baby first needs breastfeeding and later switches to solid foods, plants also need different lights and nutrition at different growth stages for maximum growth. There are many observations that support this idea.
For instance, flowering can be promoted in many crops by changing the ratio of amount of red to far red given to a plant. A low R: FR ratios is generally best for most crops. Under natural limited light conditions, plants compete with neighboring crops or weeds and develop elongated stems to avoid the shade. This behavior is referred to as shade avoidance response (SAR). For crop species, however, SAR could lead to decreased yield if plants stretch more as compared to use that energy to produce fruits (Board, 2000; Kebrom and Brutnell, 2007; Casal, 2013). Hence supplementing them with sufficient light is key to maximize production while minimizing duration.
potential for customization
Flexibility in lighting provides opportunity for customizing growth. For instance, increasing UV increases the THC content in cannabis (Lydon, 1986).
Also, customized light can help manipulate plant morphology. This is suggested by the experiment in Magagnini et al. (2018). Light adjustment technology has been accepted as one of the environmentally friendly ways to modify crop morphology in greenhouse production (Demotes-Mainard et al., 2016).
What Makes Sherpa Space Different?
Sherpa Space’s unique competitive advantage lies in our ability to convert light wavelengths with minimal energy loss. Using the quantum dot technology, we can provide lights of specific wavelengths optimized not only for each plant but also for each growth stage. As a result, we maximize crops’ nutrient compositions and productivity.
Sherpa Space’s technology is vastly superior to our main competitors because we are not limited to any single-wavelength, LED-generated lights. For peak growth and nutrient content, plants need a much more diverse and continuous spectrum of wavelengths than what any combination of LED lights can offer. Only Sherpa Space can provide what the plants truly need at every moment.
which plants do you optimize for?
Currently, we are focused primarily on high-value plants such as strawberries, tomatoes, and paprika. We plan to gradually expand our scope to include other crops in the future as well.